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September 2, 2004
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Measuring productivity provides a good indication of the economic efficiency of the food manufacturing industry, according to a report from the UDSA economic research service (ERS).

Measuring productivity-how effectively inputs (materials, labor, capital and energy) are turned into outputs (food products)-provides a good indication of the economic efficiency of the food manufacturing industry, according to a report from the UDSA economic research service (ERS).

Productivity in US food manufacturing has been growing more slowly than US manufacturing overall. Between 1975 and 1997, US food processors averaged 0.19 percent per year in productivity gains while other manufacturing industries averaged 1.25 percent.

The ERS study concluded that less processed industries such as meat packing and fluid milk showed little productivity growth. Industries which rely on elaborate packaging and sophisticated processes, such as beverage and baking, had productivity gains of about 1 percent per year.

According to a recent Gallup Organization survey of four million workers, there may be an easier way than investing in the latest technology to increase productivity: employee recognition and praise. Gallup's research shows that 65 percent of people surveyed said they received no recognition for good work in the past year. Among that 65 percent are 22 million American workers who said they are actively disengaged or extremely negative in the workplace.

Companies that provide employees with regular recognition and praise increase individual productivity, obtain better safety reports, experience fewer accidents, retain more employees and report higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.

For more information visit www.ers.usda.gov and www.gallup.com.

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